toad words

That sort doesn’t like to admit she’s been reduced to stealing food, thought the cook. Poor soul! It’s only a few apples. Lord, if you’re watching, those apples are freely given. You don’t hold them against her soul.

(The cook was in the habit of lecturing the Lord, whom she considered a colleague.)

—  T Kingfisher, Toad Words and Other Stories
Toad Words

            Frogs fall out of my mouth when I talk. Toads, too.

            It used to be a problem.

            There was an incident when I was young and cross and fed up with parental expectations. My sister, who is the Good One, has gold fall from her lips, and since I could not be her, I had to go a different way.

            So I got frogs. It happens.

            “You’ll grow into it,” the fairy godmother said. “Some curses have cloth-of-gold linings.” She considered this, and her finger drifted to her lower lip, the way it did when she was forgetting things. “Mind you, some curses just grind you down and leave you broken. Some blessings do that too, though. Hmm. What was I saying?”

            I spent a lot of time not talking. I got a slate and wrote things down. It was hard at first, but I hated to drop the frogs in the middle of the road. They got hit by cars, or dried out, miles away from their damp little homes.

            Toads were easier. Toads are tough. After awhile, I learned to feel when a word was a toad and not a frog. I could roll the word around on my tongue and get the flavor before I spoke it. Toad words were drier. Desiccated is a toad word. So is crisp and crisis and obligation. So are elegant and matchstick.

            Frog words were a bit more varied. Murky. Purple. Swinging. Jazz.

I practiced in the field behind the house, speaking words over and over, sending small creatures hopping into the evening.  I learned to speak some words as either toads or frogs. It’s all in the delivery.

            Love is a frog word, if spoken earnestly, and a toad word if spoken sarcastically. Frogs are not good at sarcasm.

            Toads are masters of it.

            I learned one day that the amphibians are going extinct all over the world, that some of them are vanishing. You go to ponds that should be full of frogs and find them silent. There are a hundred things responsible—fungus and pesticides and acid rain.

            When I heard this, I cried “What!?” so loudly that an adult African bullfrog fell from my lips and I had to catch it. It weighed as much as a small cat. I took it to the pet store and spun them a lie in writing about my cousin going off to college and leaving the frog behind.

            I brooded about frogs for weeks after that, and then eventually, I decided to do something about it.

            I cannot fix the things that kill them. It would take an army of fairy godmothers, and mine retired long ago. Now she goes on long cruises and spreads her wings out across the deck chairs.

            But I can make more.

            I had to get a field guide at first. It was a long process. Say a word and catch it, check the field marks. Most words turn to bronze frogs if I am not paying attention.

            Poison arrow frogs make my lips go numb. I can only do a few of those a day. I go through a lot of chapstick.  

            It is a holding action I am fighting, nothing more. I go to vernal pools and whisper sonnets that turn into wood frogs. I say the words squeak and squill and spring peepers skitter away into the trees. They begin singing almost the moment they emerge.

            I read long legal documents to a growing audience of Fowler’s toads, who blink their goggling eyes up at me. (I wish I could do salamanders. I would read Clive Barker novels aloud and seed the streams with efts and hellbenders. I would fly to Mexico and read love poems in another language to restore the axolotl. Alas, it’s frogs and toads and nothing more. We make do.)

            The woods behind my house are full of singing. The neighbors either learn to love it or move away.

            My sister—the one who speaks gold and diamonds—funds my travels. She speaks less than I do, but for me and my amphibian friends, she will vomit rubies and sapphires. I am grateful.

            I am practicing reading modernist revolutionary poetry aloud. My accent is atrocious. Still, a day will come when the Panamanian golden frog will tumble from my lips, and I will catch it and hold it, and whatever word I spoke, I’ll say again and again, until I stand at the center of a sea of yellow skins, and make from my curse at last a cloth of gold.

Terri Windling posted recently about the old fairy tale of frogs falling from a girl’s lips, and I started thinking about what I’d do if that happened to me, and…well…

English and Dutch have some very similar nouns but:

  • the Dutch word for turtle/tortoise is literally shield toad (schildpad)
  • the Dutch word for leopard and the Dutch word for sloth are literally 1 letter apart (luipaard and luiaard)
  • the Dutch word for leopard means lazyhorse
  • the Dutch word for slug means naked snail (naaktslak)
  • the English word slang is the same as the Dutch word for snake
  • on that note, our word for garden hose is garden snake (tuinslang)
  • we don’t say “it’s raining cats and dogs”, we do have a saying “it’s dog weather” (hondenweer) for when it’s nasty outside

Let me just talk about this for a moment!

Let me talk about how Simon Lewis, my sweet child confessed his love for his long time best friend Clary Fray.

I just think there’s something so sweet and beautiful in how Alberto delivered this scene. Leading up to this point, Simin is understandably nervous. He’s rambling to himself and then to Clary. His mouth is working faster than his brain at this point and then it all slows down to this one point. It all just slots into place, and with a smile as if this is the simplest thing in the world Simon tells Clary in no uncertain terms that he is in love with her. In that moment he can smile because it is a simple, universal truth.

The Earth is round, water is wet, Star Wars is the greatest film ever, and he is in love with Clary Fray.

Toad Words
Ursula Vernon / T. Kingfisher

read a passage from a beloved book!

Okay!  Here’s the entire title story from Toad Words and Other Stories, by T. Kingfisher!  The entire book is absolutely magical and I can’t recommend it (and everything else by T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon) highly enough.

I do realize that logically, there should be a soundtrack of escalating ribbits behind this entire thing.

Yesterday i learned that “toadlet” is a word for young tiny toads that are freshly no-longer-tadpoles

I learned this bc one hopped in front of me in the woods and i lost it bc TINY TOAD

And the word toadlet is perfect

Toadlets are perfect


For anon…enjoy! (gif from @strwrsdaily) R/N means random name. I’m also referencing his Episode 2 Hair.

Y/N: *shouting* Insufferable toad? Did those words just come from your mouth?
Obi: It’s not my fault the man can’t hold a conversation!
Y/N: Really? Because he was holding one with me!
Obi: You call that a conversation?
Y/N: *wide eyes* Oh, so I’m the insufferable one now.
Obi: *getting louder* I never said that!
Y/N: At least he had nice hair!
Obi: What’s wrong with my hair?
Y/N: Earth would enjoy it’s shameful hairstyle back.
Obi: *red in the face* It’s part of the Jedi Training!
Padme and Ani: *side-glance* *smirk*

Padme: *walks up to Y/N* I see the arguing doesn’t lessen with age.
Y/N: *confused* What are you talking about?
Padme: *faux innocence* Oh, couples and how much they fight.
Y/N: *archs a brow*
Padme: *whispers* I heard you and Obi arguing. It’s such a shame to see you two fight so much. I mean, with all the love you have for each other.
Y/N: L-Love?
Padme: I’m sure he’ll come around.

Ani: Shall we take a break, Master?
Obi: Hmm? Oh, yes I suppose.
Ani: *smirks* Something troubling you?
Obi: *rolls eyes* I don’t suppose you already have a working theory.
Ani: *shrugs* Well, you haven’t been comparing me to Y/N today, so I think it has something to do with them.
Obi: *slowly* Yeah, actually.
Ani: Trouble in paradise?
Obi: *blushes* What do you mean by that?
Ani: *sighs* And Padme and I always look to you two for guidance.

Y/N: Why must you insist on pestering me if you’re only going to continue to insult the man?
Obi: Pester? You’re the one who wanted to apologize!
Y/N: For acting like a child! I thought maybe you’d do the same! Clearly, that hair has done more than taken you back a few millennia.
Obi: There’s nothing wrong with my hair!
Y/N: There’s nothing wrong with R/N!
Obi: If you find him so perfect, why don’t you marry him?
Y/N: Maybe because I’m in love with you! *yelps* *clasps hands over mouth*
Obi: *quietly* Wh…What was that?
Y/N: *silent* *blushes*
Obi: Did you…you’re in love with me?
Y/N: *nods with a small squeak*
Obi: *blushed incredibly bright* *clears throat* Oh, well. Um. I see.
Y/N: I…I should go.
Obi: Just…one thing, Y/N.
Y/N: *pauses*
Obi: It’s, uh. *clears throat* mutual. The feeling’s mutual.

Perma-tags: @dontbeamenacetotheforce @jumperswellies @ttelesilla @caitsymichelle13 @myplaceofthingsilove @holywinchesterness 
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today i learned that there was this frog that could grow up to 16 inches long (41 cm), it’s now extinct. this frog’s scientific name is literally “beelzebufo.” as in beelzebub (like, the demon) + bufo (the latin word for ‘toad’).

when you look this frog up on wikipedia (as i’m sure you will), here’s what’s listed under the “see also” section


a scene from a later part of the story. there’s more to come!! art by me & text by @sailershanty

For Every Word, a Toad Falls Out

It had been a rough couple of weeks for Kylo. He was tired, his feet were tired, his heart was tired, and just looking at Hux’s idea of bedroom decor was exhausting him. He glanced around at the glass display frames of pinned and preserved things, and thought of a mortician’s reimagining of dried flowers. The bed beneath him squeaked quietly when he sat down using all the care of an elephant.

“Why… Why are you so obsessed with death?” He didn’t look up from his lap as he asked the question, mind wrapped in a dark swath of something blank and painful.

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Midnight Firewhiskys

Inspired by: Imagine Sneaking out of bed and getting drunk with Fred and George.


Word count: 1.419

Rating: I’d rate it PG-13 due to the alcohol usage and one sexual innuendo!

The school year had just begun and even though it was early, you decided to go to bed already. The last week has been stressful to no end because every teacher was giving you a big pile of homework so you would all be prepared for the OWLs at the end of your year. The red velvet curtains of your canopy bed let in only a small beam of light. While you looked at the little bit of light, you wonder when you started being like your mother who went to bed so early even on a Friday night. You turned on your side and simply guessed that Hermione’s ways had rubbed off on you.

While you liked being around Hermione, Ron and Harry, your best friends were Fred and George Weasley. The Weasley twins always knew how to cheer you up even if you think you’ll never get out of this sadness, they are the ones to make it happen. With a smile you think about them as your closest friends and worst prank-enemies. The last thought before you fell asleep circled around them and it felt like you slept two seconds when a sudden and loud noise appeared. One second and then it was gone. You’re sure that you just imagined it but then there it was again. With a frown you pushed aside the curtains to peek around the room. The other girls were sleeping and no one else seemed to have noticed the thud-noise.

Your curiosity was strong now and so you slipped out of bed, wrapping yourself in a red morning robe before you looked for the cause of the noise which interrupted your sleep and you found it just moments after. A little paper aeroplane kept bumping into the closed window, like a dizzy wasp on a hot summer night. Slowly you reached for the window to open it as silently as possible and to your surprise, the memo flew right up to you to fall down into your cleavage.

‘Fred and George… You pervy idiots,’ you whispered and sat back down onto your bed to fish out the note again, reading it carefully before you smile. You didn’t hesitate to get up and follow what the note said. Silently you threw your school robes over your pyjamas to sneak out of the room just a second later.

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